Wilma Kjelgaard Beller passed away on March 15, 2020. She passed peacefully at her home in Gaines, Pa., surrounded by her loving husband Martin and her three children Alan, Trixie and Peter. Wilma, who was born on February 12, 1918, lived a long, fulfilled and fulfilling life and passed away at the age of 102.
Wilma was born in Gaines, just a few hundred yards from where she passed away, in the era of horses, buggies, dirt roads and outdoor sanitation. She traveled very far in both time and geography. She lived to see television, space travel, the Atomic Age and the Internet. After graduating from the local high school that served Gaines, she moved to New York City and graduated from Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing in 1942. At Mount Sinai she led her class and received the Hugo Blumenthal scholarship to finance graduate work. Thereafter, she worked as a surgical nurse, obtained a graduate degree in education with the benefit of her scholarship, and taught at Mount Sinai.
Through her work as a surgical nurse, she also met Martin, an orthopedic surgeon, and they were married on June 29, 1947. At Wilma’s death they had been married for more than 72 years.
Wilma and Martin moved to Philadelphia in 1952, where they lived in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood and Martin practiced until 1987. During her time in Philadelphia, Wilma became an accomplished champion of a number of major Philadelphia institutions, including The Episcopal Academy and Friends Select School, where her children went to school, the University of Pennsylvania, where in particular Wilma was for many years the Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Antique Show, and the Republican Women of Pennsylvania.
Upon Martin’s retirement, Wilma and he moved back to Gaines, in the area where Wilma grew up and where they were surrounded by family and friends. Over her more than 30 years in Gaines, Wilma continued her charitable activities, especially with the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, Pa., and welcomed her children and growing brood of grandchildren for vacations and weekends in Gaines.
In addition to her husband and three children, Wilma is survived by 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Funeral and burial arrangements are private. A memorial service is scheduled for March 28 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Wellsboro. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages gifts to a chosen charity.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Tussey-Mosher Funeral Home, Ltd., Wellsboro.
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